Tribe improves to 53-54
We call him a machine. A robot. The Terminator. Klubot. But the hyperbolic nicknames no longer apply. Tonight, Corey Kluber transcended all that. It may not be possible for a machine to pitch as ruthlessly and efficiently as Kluber did today.
Last time out, Kluber nearly pitched a perfect game. Tonight, he was somehow better. In what was indisputably the best game of his career, Kluber shut down the Mariners, striking out eight and giving up just three hits in a complete game shutout. It took him just 85 pitches to do so. Only 16 of those 86 pitches were outside of the strikezone. He faced just one batter over the minimum and finished with a game score of 89. Short of a no-hitter or perfect game, you can't do much better than that. Hell, this game was arguably more dominant than many no-hitters. Not only that, but this was Kluber's second game in a row facing just 28 batters and giving up zero earned runs over nine innings.
Just to emphasize how little regard Kluber has for human life, I didn't even have time to finish my dinner before I had to write the recap. All three hits Kluber gave up were singles, and he only ever ran into "trouble" once. David Murphy botched the play on Robinson Cano's two-out single in the 4th, but Kluber got the next batter to ground out weakly. The other two singles were erased by double plays. Eighteen of the game's 27 outs came on three pitches or fewer as Klubot completed not only a Maddux, but a Super Maddux (at least according to one esteemed LGT writer). It was the first Maddux thrown by an Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee in 2009. I'd talk more about that, but I think there's another LGT writer who may know a bit more about the topic.
Kluber's performance is all the more impressive given his opponent. He had to be damn good tonight to beat Seattle ace Felix Hernandez. King Felix had a solid game himself, striking out five over seven innings, but it wasn't enough to best Kluber. The Indians offense dented him just enough to give Kluber a lead to work with. A Yan Gomes double with the bases loaded in the 5th plated the only two runs the Indians would need. The offense was useless against Mariners pitching the rest of the night, but it didn't matter.
Baseball is unique in that even though it's a team sport, some of the greatest games are dominated by just one player. Though 18 other men took the field tonight, only one of them mattered. On a day when the Indians traded former ace Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber pulled his socks high and showed Indians fans that their next ace is already here.
All hail Klubot. All hail Corey Kluber.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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